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What Does a Version Release Manager Do?


Haley works in Quality Assurance as a software tester. She is in charge of managing testing projects as well as training new testers.


What Is a Release Manager?

A release manager is in charge of coordinating the planning, scheduling, and releases of software or hardware.

One of the most important goals of a release manager is to preserve the integrity and availability of production systems while deploying new software and hardware. This boils down to not breaking production environments while upgrading.

This job focuses on properly interfacing with test managers, development managers, and operations throughout the Release Management lifecycle, to be able to properly control what is in each release.

They follow-up on every detail of a release, expecting perfection and ferreting out issues before the product touches production. These problems can be related to code, deployment, operations, or administrative work.

Sophisticated revision control that tracks and accounts for ownership of changes to documents and code may be extremely helpful or even indispensable in such situations.

— On Release management in Agile Methodologies

What Are the Duties of a Release Manager?

The duties of a release manager will vary depending on the exact environment. In some smaller shops, this job can be done in addition to other job duties.

The basic job duties of a release manager include:

  • Overseeing major releases and patch notes.
  • Creating and tracking release issues.
  • Scheduling patch releases.
  • The release manager decides how many defects and new features will be in each release.
  • Reviewing QA testing report.
  • Developing software distribution procedures.
  • Coordinating communications and training about releases.

Questions the are Required to Ask When Planning Releases

When planning a release, there are reoccurring questions that need to be answered for every release:

  • How to distribute client software to current users?
  • How soon does this release need to occur? Was this a security patch? Or a patch fixing a major issue?
  • How to migrate data from old version to the new version with minimum disruption to database access?
  • How to verify correct migration of data?
  • How do we uninstall and decommission the old version? Does upgrade process already do this?
  • Have all necessary change control approvals been secured?
  • Are there any difference between testing environments and client/production environments?
  • Has integration testing been completed? Are there any additional risks due to integration testing environment not matching production environments?
  • Is this a phased release?
  • How are we communicating to stakeholders the schedule and impact of releases?

Some of these questions may always have the same answer, or the answers may change from release to release. some of these duties can also be shared with PMs, POs, Scrum Masters, and Testing Leads.

Leave a comment if you have additional comments that your release managers need to answer when planning a release.

Read More

The exact duties and responsibilities of a release manager can vary by the team, check out these articles to learn more:

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